Sidor som bilder


He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks,
An' haurls at his curpin :
An' every now an' then he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee,

An' her that is to be my lass,
Come after me and draw thee,
As fast this night."


He whistled up Lord Lenox' march
To keep his courage cheerie ;
Although his hair began to arch,

He was sae fley'd an' eerie :
Till presently he hears a squeak,
An' then a grane an' gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
An' tumbled wi' a wintle

Out-owre that night.


He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!

An' young an' auld came rinnin out,
To hear the sad narration:

He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Morran Humphie,
Till stop! she trotted through them a';
An' wha was it but Grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn gaen,

To win three wechts o' naething;*
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in :

She gies the herd a pickle nits,
An' twa red cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples

That vera night.


She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,
An' owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca',

Syne bauldly in she enters;
A ratton rattled up the wa',

An' she cried L-d preserve her,
An' ran through midden-hole an' a',
An' pray'd wi' zeal an' fervour,
Fu' fast that night.

* This charm must likewise be performed unperceived, and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, we call a wecht; and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.


They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice:

They hecht him some fine braw ane; It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice, Was timmer propt for thrawin': He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,

For some black, grousome carlin; An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke, Till skin in blypes came haurlin Aff's nieves that night. XXIV.

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlen;

But och! that night, amang the shaws,
She got a fearfu' settlin!

She through the whins, an' by the cairn,
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burnt
To dip her left sark sleeve in,
Was bent that night.


Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As through the glen it wimplet:
Whyles round a rocky scar it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimplet;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,

Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.


Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,

The deil, or else an outler quey,

Gat up an' gae a croon : Poor Leezie's heart mais lap the hool; Neer lav'rock height she jumpit, But mist a fit, an' in the pool Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,

Wi' a plunge that night. XXVII.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane, The luggies three‡ are ranged,

Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a Bear stack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.

+ You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a south running spring or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake; and some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.

Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul water in another, leave the third empty: blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged: he (or she) dips the left hand: if by chance in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered

And every time great care is ta'en,
To see them duly changed:
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys
Sin Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom-dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire

In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks, I wat they dinna weary;

An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes,

Their sports were cheap an' cheery, Till butter'd so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt, Set a' their gabs a-steerin; Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt, They parted aff careerin

Fu' blythe that night.



A GUID new-year I wish thee, Maggie! Hae, there's a rip to thy auld baggie : Though thou's howe-backit, now, an' knaggie, I've seen the day, Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie Out-owre the lay.

Though now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy, An' thy auld hide's as white's a daisy, I've seen thee dappl't, sleek, and glaizie, A bonnie gray: He should been tight that daur't to raize thee, Ance in a day.

Thou ance was i' the foremost rank, A filly buirdly, steeve, an' swank, An' set weel down a shapely shank, As e'er tread yird; An' could hae flown out-owre a stank, Like ony bird.

It's now some nine an' twenty year, Sin' thou was my good father's meere; He gied me thee, o' tocher clear,

An' fifty mark; Though it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear, An' thou was stark.

When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, Ye then was trottin wi' your minnie: Though ye was trickie, slee, an' funnie, Ye ne'er was donsie ; But hamely, tawie, quiet, an' cannie, An' unco sonsie.

That day, ye pranced wi' muckle pride, When ye bure hame my bonnie bride; An' sweet, an' gracefu' she did ride, Wi' maiden air! Kyle Stewart I could bragged wide, For sic a pair.

Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween supper.

Though now ye dow but hoyte an' hobble An' wintle like a saumont-coble, That day ye was a jinker noble

For heels an' win'! An' ran them till they a' did wauble, Far, far behin'.

When thou an' I were young an' skeigh, An' stable-meals at fairs were dreigh, How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skreigh, An' tak the road! Town's bodies ran, and stood abeigh, An' ca't thee mad.

When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow, We took the road aye like a swallow: At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow, For pith an' speed: But every tail thou pay't them hollow, Where'er thou gaed.

The sma', droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle; But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle, An' gar't them whaizle: Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle O' saugh or hazel.

Thou was a noble fittie-lan', As e'er in tug or tow was drawn! Aft thee an' I, in aught hours gaun, On guid March weather, Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han', For days thegither.

Thou never braindg't, an' fetch't, an' fliskit, But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, An' spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket, Wi' pith, an' pow'r, Till spritty knowes wad rair't and risket, An' slypet owre.

When frosts lay lang, an' snows were deep, An' threaten'd labour back to keep, I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap

Aboon the timmer; I kenn'd my Maggie wad na sleep For that, or simmer.

The cart or car thou never restit; The stevest brae thou wad hae fac't it: Thou never lap, and sten't, and breastit, Then stood to blaw; But just thy step a wee thing hastit, Thou snoov't awa.

My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a': Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw: Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa.

That thou hast nurst: They drew me thretteen pund an' twa, The vera warst.

Monie a sair daurk we twa hae wrought, An' wi' the weary warl' fought! And monie an anxious day, I thought We wad be beat! Yet here to crazy age we're brought, Wi' something yet.

And think na, my auld trusty servan',
That now perhaps thou's less deservin,
An' thy auld days may end in starvin,
For my last fou,
A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane
Laid by for you.

We've worn to crazy years thegither;
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither:
Wi' tentie care, I'll fit thy tether,
To some hain'd rig,
Where ye may nobly rax your leather,
Wi' sma' fatigue,




WEE, sleekit, cow'rin, timorous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which maks thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow mortal.

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave

'Sa sma request;

I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
And never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the winds are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain :
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But, och! I backward cast my e'e, On prospects drear; An' forward, though I canna see, I guess an' fear.


Poor, naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these ?-


WHEN biting Boreas, fell and doure, Sharp shivers through the leafless bower; When Phoebus gies a short-lived glower Far south the lift, Dim-darkening through the flaky shower, Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rock'd, Poor labour sweet in sleep was lock'd, While burns, wi' snawy wreeths up-chock'd, Wild-eddying swirl, Or through the mining outlet bock'd, Down headlong hurl.

Listening, the doors an' winnocks rattle, I thought me on the ourie cattle, Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle O' winter war,

And through the drift, deep-lairing sprattle, Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing, That, in the merry months o' spring, Delighted me to hear thee sing,

What comes o' thee? Whare wilt thou cower thy chittering wing, An' close thy e'e?

E'en you on murdering errands toil'd, Lone from your savage homes exiled, The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd, My heart forgets, While pitiless the tempest wild

Sore on you beats.

Now Phoebe, in her midnight reign Dark muffled, view'd the dreary plain; Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train, Rose in my soul, When on my ear this plaintive strain, Slow, solemn, stole

"Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust! And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost! Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows! Not all your rage, as now united, shows More hard unkindness, unrelenting, Vengeful malice, unrepenting,

Than heaven illumined man on brother man bestows!

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

See stern oppression's iron grip,

O life! thou art a galling load,
Or mad ambition's gory hand,

Along a rough, a weary road,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,

To wretches such as I!
Wo, want, and murder, o'er a land!

Dim backward as I cast my view,
E'en in the peaceful, rural vale,

What sickening scenes appear!
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,

What sorrows yet may pierce me through, How pamper'd luxury, flattery by her side,

Too justly I may fear!
The parasite empoisoning her ear,

Still caring, despairing,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,

Must be my bitter doom ;
Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ;

My woes here shall close ne'er,
And eyes the simple rustic hind,

But with the closing tomb !
Whose toil upholds the glittering show,

A creature of another kind,
Some coarser substance, unrefined,

Happy, ye sons of busy life,
Placed for her lordly use, thus far, thus vile, below;

Who, equal to the bustling strife,
Where, where is love's fond, tender throe,

No other view regard !
With lordly honour's lofty brow,

E'en when the wished end's denied,
The powers you proudly own?

Yet while the busy means are plied,
Is there beneath love's noble name,

They bring their own reward :
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,

Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
To bless himself alone ?

Unfitted with an aim,
Mark maiden innocence a prey

Meet every sad returning night,
To love-pretending snares,

And joyless morn the same ;
This boasted honour turns away,

You, bustling, and justling,
Shunning soft pity's rising sway,

Forget each grief and pain :
Regardless of the tears, and unavailing prayers !

I, listless, yet restless,
Perhaps, this hour, in misery's squalid nest,

Find every prospect vain.
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,

And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking

How blest the solitary's lot,

Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,
“Oye! who, sunk in beds of down,

Within his humble cell,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,

The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,

Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!

Beside his crystal well!
Ill satisfied keen nature's clamorous call,

Or, haply, to his evening thought,
Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep, By unfrequented stream.
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall, The ways of men are distant brought,
Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap!

A faint collected dream :
Think on the dungeon's grim confine,

While praising and raising
Where guilt and poor misfortune pine !

His thoughts to heaven on high,
Guilt, erring man, relenting view!

As wandering, meandering,
But shall thy legal rage pursue

He views the solemn sky.
The wretch, already crushed low
By cruel fortune's undeserved blow!

Affliction's sons are brothers in distress,

Than I, no lonely hermit placed
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss !"

Where never human footstep traced,

Less fit to play the part ;
I heard nae mair, for chanticleer

The lucky moment to improve,
Shook off the pouthery snaw,

And just to stop, and just to move,
And hail'd the morning with a cheer,

With self-respecting art:
A cottage-rousing craw.

But ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,

Which I too keenly taste,
But deep this truth impress'd my mind-

The solitary can despise,
Through all his works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind

Can want, and yet be blest !

He needs not, he heeds not,
The most resembles God.

Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cry here,

At perfidy ingrate!

0! enviable, early days,

When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,

To care, to guilt unknown!
OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress'd with care,

How ill exchanged for riper times,
A burden more than I can bear,

To feel the follies, or the crimes,
I sit me down and sigh:

Of others, or my own!



Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,

Like linnets in the bush,

November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh ;
Ye little know the ills ye court,

The shortening winter day is near a close ; When manhood is your wish.

The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh, The losses, the crosses,

The blackening trains o’craws to their repose:
That active man engage!

The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,
The fears all, the tears all,

This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Of dim-declining age.

Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward

bend. WINTER


At length his lonely cot appears in view,

Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;

Th’expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher through The wintry west extends his blast, And hail and rain does blaw;

To meet their dad, wi’ flichterin noise an'glee.

His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily, Or, the stormy north sends driving forth

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The blinding sleet and snaw:

The lisping infant prattling on his knee, While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,

Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile, And roars frae bank to brae;

An' makes him quite forget his labour an' his toil.
And bird and beast in covert rest,
And pass the heartless day.


Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,

At service out, amang the farmers round: “ The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast,"**

Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin The joyless winter day,

A cannie errand to a neebor town: Let others fear, to me more dear

Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, Than all the pride of May:

In youthfu'bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,

Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, My griefs it seems to join,

Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee, The leafless trees my fancy please,

To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. Their fate resembles mine.


Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet, Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme An' each for others' weelfare kindly spiers: These woes of mine fulfil,

The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnoticed fleet; Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,

Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears ; Because they are thy will!

The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years; Then all I want, (0, do thou grant

Anticipation forward points the view. This one request of mine!)

The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers, Since to enjoy thou dost deny,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new : Assist me to resign.

The father mixes a' wi’ admonition due.

Their master's an’their mistress's command,

The younkers a' are warned to obey;

“ An’ mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, INSCRIBED TO R. A****, ESQ.

An'ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play:

An’O! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;

An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,

Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
The short but simple annals of the poor.

Implore his counsel and assisting might:

They never sought in vain that sought the Lord

aright !” My loved, my honour'd, much respected friend!

VII. No mercenary bard his homage pays;

But hark! 'a rap comes gently to the door ; With honest pride I scorn each selfish end;

Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same, My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise ; Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor, To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,

To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene; The wily mother sees the conscious flame The native feelings strong, the guileless ways: Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek;

What A**** in a cottage would have been ; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there,

name, I ween.

While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak;

Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, * Dr. Young.

worthless rake.


« FöregåendeFortsätt »